If your New Year’s resolution is to drink more local beer outdoors, you’re in luck!
Abjuration Brewing, 644 Broadway Ave., McKees Rocks
When it comes to beer, the owners of Abjuration Brewing Co. like to think outside the box and use unorthodox ingredients. Now they’re thinking outside the building.
The small-batch brewery, which is located inside the Parkway Theater, has a new, year-round outdoor space. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 1 to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
A former automotive junkyard, the large area is accessible from the curb and from inside the brewery. It boasts lighting, picnic tables and fire pits. The space is bookended by two shipping containers, one of which is refrigerated and will eventually have a tap system.
Co-owners Tom Glover and Dave Hallam aren’t strangers to outdoor imbibing. During the two Covid summers, the pair held pop-up events at 10.7 Marina in Verona, which introduced the Abjuration brand to a new segment of Pittsburgh beer drinkers.
In the coming months, they plan to build a shelter over part of the dog-friendly beer garden, hire local artists to paint murals, grow their own hops and present live music. They’ll occasionally host food trucks and continue directing customers to their local restaurant partners.
Depending on the Covid situation, activities will ramp up this summer.
In the meantime, Glover and Hallam are focused on making more beer with the new equipment that doubled their brewing capacity and allows them to make two different batches at once. They also invested in a keg cleaner and a small canning line.
Abjuration, which opened in 2018, is known for experimenting with different styles and ingredients. Heck, they even serve their beer in beakers.
Right now, you can get everything from a cashew Belgian quad, a triple IPA and a double-candied sour to a Schwarzbier, a malty amber and a Butter Beer Ale. Every week, Glover and Hallam add two new beers to the brewery’s rotating lineup.
Allegheny City Brewing, 507 Foreland St., North Side
Allegheny City Brewing, which opened five years ago in the heart of Deutschtown, prides itself on being a community hub where locals can relax with a pint.
Recently, the owners hosted a public meeting at the taproom so residents could hear about their expansion plans and offer input. If a sales agreement is reached and city permits are approved, they hope to take over a vacant lot on East Ohio Street. Allegheny City Brewing utilized the pup-friendly site, which is located next to Fig & Ash, last summer and into the fall. The site featured tents, picnic tables and a stage for live musical performances and other events.
Co-owner Al Grasso says he’d like to see the outdoor space open back up in time for the Deutschtown Music Festival, tentatively scheduled for July 22-24. Pre-pandemic, the weekend-long event introduced thousands of folks to the seven-barrel brewery and its assortment of beer styles. Covid put a damper on the festivities the last two years, but loyal customers have kept the business afloat by imbibing a lot of brews, including the flagship Oceanic IPA.
Being part of the fabric of the community is important to Grasso and his partners, Matt and Amy Yurkovich, a brother-and-sister team who grew up on the North Side.
If you want to support Allegheny City Brewing, head to the taproom, which, in addition to bar and table seating for 49 patrons, features tents and picnic tables along Foreland Street. Keep an eye on the brewery’s Facebook page for posts about upcoming public meetings.
“Our goal is not to be the biggest brewery in Pittsburgh,” Grasso says, “but be known as a neighborhood spot. People have met their spouses here. We’ve watched their kids grow up. They’re building a life in this community and we have a platform to be a part of it.”
Mark your calendar for Barrel & Flow Fest
This summer, folks will flood the streets of the Strip District for Barrel & Flow Fest.
The annual celebration of the nation’s Black brewers and culture will take place Aug. 12-14 at The Stacks at 3 Crossings. The sprawling, open-air plaza along the Allegheny River will showcase Black beer, art and music while maintaining health and safety protocols.
Friday’s festivities include a daylong conference featuring panels, classes, symposia and an evening bottle share event. On Saturday from noon to 9 p.m., attendees can commune with more than 75 breweries, 75 vendors and dozens of artists and musicians. Sunday’s Brewers Brunch features beer and food pairings.
Even if you can’t make it to the festival, keep an eye out for Barrel & Flow beer collaborations released by local breweries.
Cheer on the Steelers with Necromancer’s Black and Gold beers
The Steelers are in the playoffs and Necromancer Brewing Co. is celebrating on Thursday, Jan. 13 with two new beer releases: the Black Pittsburgh Porter and the Gold Pittsburgh Cream Ale. You can enjoy the brews on their own or mix ‘em together.
Located at 2257 Babcock Blvd. in Ross Township, Necromancer will serve pub mix pints and pitchers as long as the beers are in stock. On Sunday, Jan. 16 at 8 p.m., you can sip and watch the big game on the brewhouse projector or grab a mixed four-pack to go.
Not a football fan? Necromancer is also releasing Send Your Cat, the 13th installment of the company’s resurrection series. The zwert (that’s Flemish for black) beer is brewed with Chinook hops, Munich and roasted malts and a hybrid lager yeast. It’ll be available on draft and in four-packs.
Other brew news
— Are you a teacher? Grist House Craft Brewery in Millvale wants to say thank you with some much-deserved beer. On Sunday, Jan. 16 from noon to 8 p.m., educators who flash their school ID will receive a 20% discount on all drafts and full-price merchandise.
— Golden Age Beer Co. in Homestead is offering Crowler Hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m. Fill a 32-ounce to-go can with Pale Ale, Pilsner or Kölsch or stay for a pint. Located in the former Enix Brewing Co. building, the brewery offers outdoor and indoor seating and a full menu from 4 to 9 p.m. on Friday and from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday. Patrons must be vaccinated and boosted to sit inside.
— The folks at Inner Groove Brewing are hard at work on their second location. The Allentown taproom and winterized beer garden on E. Warrington Ave. is expected to open in March, but a few pop-up events will take place beforehand to give the neighborhood a taste of what’s to come.
— If you’ve been through Lawrenceville lately, you may have noticed a cool symbol on the side of the peculiar building at 5247 Butler St. That’s the future home of Lolev Brewing Co., which may offer rooftop seating in the future.
— Another brewery to watch out for this summer is Aslin Beer Co. The Virginia-based brewery will open a 10,000-square-foot taproom and brewhouse in the Strip District Terminal building. The space will include a 10-barrel brewing system, a café, a second-floor mezzanine and an outdoor patio.